News, Wolcott

Board Raises Transfer Station Prices to Stem Losses

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by Gazette Staff

WOLCOTT – At its April 19 regular meeting, the Wolcott Select Board discussed the status of grants, spending American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on broadband, and steps to stop financial losses at the transfer station.

To introduce the first topic for board discussion, Sal Morales, planner with Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC), presented the board with an update on the Municipal Planning Grant application that LCPC submitted on behalf of the Town of Wolcott last December. The grant funds a site feasibility study to be conducted on the old School House. The total amount of the grant is $20,075. The amount awarded is $18,067, which would require a match from the town of $2,008. The study would address external services for the building. If the board wants to move forward, then LCPC will put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a consultant to perform the work. In the event that all bids received exceeded the total amount of the grant, the board could consider other funding sources, or could pull back the proposal and redo it. The work would need to be performed by January. The board voted to spend $2,008 of ARPA funds for the grant match.

The next presentation was on a Health Equity and Community Design Technical Assistance pilot program. Meghan Rodier, Planner with LCPC, reported that she has been discussing the pilot program with the Wolcott Planning Commission. The program is offered through the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development. The program would provide technical assistance to a few towns to work on healthy community design and equity projects. The planning commission is in favor of pursuing the opportunity. The board voted to approve LCPC moving forward with the application for participation in the pilot program.

Next, Andrew Ross, Wolcott’s representative on the Lamoille County FiberNet (LCFN) Communications Union District (CUD), and Lisa Birmingham, LCFN’s executive director, outlined an opportunity for Wolcott to contribute funds towards broadband expansion in town with a one-to-one match from the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB). Of the 138 LCFN addresses in town, 122 have been identified as unserved or underserved. The board previously approved ARPA funds for the NEK CUD. LCFN is seeking a $15,000 contribution. The board voted to provide $15,000 of ARPA funds to LCFN for the Wolcott town match.

The board then discussed the 2023 Local Emergency Management Plan, and then voted to approve it.

The board also voted to approve a driveway permit on Baldwin Brook Road.

In the project manager report, board vice-chair Kurt Klein reported that it appears that Lamoille Kennels will continue to operate, but under new ownership. Klein also reported that work continues on Phase 2 of improvements to the town’s website, and that ownership of property at 74 School Street has been transferred to the individual who had purchased it at tax sale.

Additional updates included that LCPC is working on securing funding for a Phase 2 Brownfield study on land owned by Champlain Oil, and Wolcott submitted a request to share in the nation-wide opioid settlement. Rob Moore, from LCPC, will guide the town in moving forward with the Grants in Aid work on road segments, and Klein and board chair Linda Martin were part of a tour of state-owned land between the gazebo and the rail trail to consider its suitability as a parking area for snowmobile trailers. It was determined the area is too wet. Land by the ball fields would be a better location for such a parking area. Signage will be required.

Green Up Day is Saturday, May 6, and is again being organized by the litter committee. Bags are available at the town office. Bags will also be available on May 6 at the gazebo across the parking lot from the library and town office. Chili will be served to volunteers at no charge between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The litter committee purchased new “Don’t Trash Wolcott” signs that are being posted around town.

The highway department has been grading and laying gravel. Klein has received calls expressing gratitude for the work the highway department has been doing during this year’s mud season. The road crew has started brush clearing along the roadsides to improve the line of sight.

The board then returned to the topic of transfer station trash prices. The board continues to look for cost-saving measures to get the transfer station back operating in the black. The special cardboard container was discontinued to eliminate the added expense. Increased costs for fuel and transportation necessitate an increase in trash bag prices. In the discussion, it was reported that All Metals charges a dollar more for trash bags than does Wolcott. They also charge more for recycling. The board voted to raise trash bag prices by $1 to $4 for a 15-gallon bag, $6 for a 30-gallon bag, and $8 for a 45-gallon bag, effective May 6. Recycling remains $1 for a 15-gallon tote.

The board then voted to appoint Bradley Horstman to the vacant position on the cemetery commission, and to appoint Deborah Klein to fill the vacancy on the development review board and planning commission created by the resignation of Chad Roy.

Next, board chair Linda Martin stated that the select board needs to appoint officers for 2023. She read the names of those interested: Animal Control Officer: Dean Mercier, Road Foreman: Dillan Cafferky, Tree Warden: Mike Green, Lamoille County Planning Commission Director: Maxfield English, Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC): Linda Martin, TAC Alternate: Kurt Klein, Board of Supervisor, LRSWMD: Phillip Wilson, Emergency Manager: Steve Princ.

Also named were: Assistant Emergency Manager: Elliot Bjerke, Energy Coordinator: Kee Gillen, Green Up Vermont Committee: Litter Committee, NEK CUD representative: Bruce Wheeler, LCFN CUD representative: Andrew Ross, Wolcott Planning Commission: Jim Robert, Zoning Administrator for 2024: Tom Martin. The board voted to appoint the candidates on the list. Other officer positions will be addressed at the end of June.

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